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[uh-dah-joh, -zhee-oh; Italian ah-dah-jaw] /əˈdɑ dʒoʊ, -ʒiˌoʊ; Italian ɑˈdɑ dʒɔ/
Music. in a leisurely manner; slowly.
Music. slow.
noun, plural adagios.
Music. an adagio movement or piece.
  1. a sequence of well-controlled, graceful movements performed as a display of skill.
  2. a duet by a man and a woman or mixed trio emphasizing difficult technical feats.
  3. (especially in ballet) a love-duet sequence in a pas de deux.
Origin of adagio
1740-50; < Italian, for ad agio at ease; agio < Old Provençal ais or Old French aise (see ease) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for adagio
Historical Examples
  • They skipped not in answer to the adagio movement in the May-day Symphony.

    Cruel Barbara Allen David Christie Murray
  • Sinking quickly into the slumber which always overtakes him during the adagio.

    A Book of Burlesques

    H. L. Mencken
  • Tempo: adagio lamentoso, with occasionally a rise to andante maesto.

    A Book of Burlesques

    H. L. Mencken
  • The first movement and the adagio, above all, are of incomparable beauty.

  • If I were a musician I would take it as the subject for the adagio in a Wesleyan symphony.

    The Way of All Flesh Samuel Butler
  • The incoherence of the Journal suddenly glides into an adagio.

    Fantazius Mallare Ben Hecht
  • My name is Miller, at your service for an adagio—but, as to ladybirds, I cannot serve you.

    Love and Intrigue Friedrich Schiller
  • Only the adagio and Rondo of his Concerto had a decided success.

  • His compositions, also, 240 showed superior delicacy in the adagio.

    The Violin

    George Dubourg
  • Schubert has published the “adagio Religioso,” which will be sent you at Paris.

    Ole Bull Sara C. Bull
British Dictionary definitions for adagio


/əˈdɑːdʒɪˌəʊ; Italian aˈdadʒo/
adjective, adverb
(to be performed) slowly
noun (pl) -gios
a movement or piece to be performed slowly
(ballet) a slow section of a pas de deux
Word Origin
C18: Italian, from ad at + agio ease
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for adagio

c.1746, "slowly, leisurely," Italian, from ad agio, from ad "to, at" (see ad-) + agio "leisure," from Vulgar Latin adjacens, present participle of adjacere "to lie at, to lie near" (cf. adjacent). In musical sense of "a slow movement" (n.), first attested 1784.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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adagio in Culture
adagio [(uh-dah-joh, uh-dah-zhee-oh)]

A very slow musical tempo.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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